Friday Firesmith – The Hilltop

Back in the late 70’s, there was a little shack on top of an embankment someone turned into a bar – The Hilltop. There was draft beer, a few tables and chairs, a bar of course, and one bathroom out back. There was a juke box and if you wanted to start a fight all you had to do was play some of the “black music” and it would happen.

I went there after work, as most of us did, and we were drinking, and very rarely would women be there, and even more rarely would two women be there alone. These two had gotten off work and wanted a beer and decided, you know, how bad could it be?

Tommy, who was a mess even when he was sober, asked one of the women to dance with him. There was barely enough room to turn around much less dance. But Tommy bought them a beer, asked the woman to dance, and each time she would tell him no.

It reached a point where he was being obnoxious for the hell of it, but the women ignored him, and finally, Tommy came back to our table, killed a beer or two, and said, “Watch this.” And he headed back in.
“Are you sure you don’t want to dance with me?” Tommy asked the woman.

“I’m sure I do not want to dance,” the woman replied with a sigh.

Tommy turned around and grinned at us and then turned back to the woman.
“So a BJ is out of the question,” Tommy said loudly, and even for Tommy, this was out there

“I’ve already flossed,” the woman said and two of us spewed beer out of our noses. I could not stop laughing, and as Tommy sat down the look of total and awesome defeat burned in his face like a thousand suns. The two women got up and left, and the bartender, who couldn’t stop laughing either, paid their tab.

For years after that incident, Tommy got dental floss for his birthday and for Christmas from people who were there, and from people who heard the story, which lost nothing in the telling. But it good truth, adding nothing to it, the story was still damn hysterical.

Except for the fact there were two women who couldn’t get rid of Tommy. There wasn’t room to dance, and Tommy knew it, and once the woman said no the first three or four times, he was just showing off for the rest of the guys there. It was funny to watch, unless you were a woman who had gone through something like this, and both of those women had to have more than a little fear of how weird things were going to get. I’ll bet neither of them ever went to the Hilltop again.

It was funny how Tommy went down in flames that day, but it was at the expense of the security and privacy of two women who were not bothering anyone.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Road Kill

I got a text from a strange number, and all numbers are strange unless they’re in my contacts. My app for screening strange numbers, Robo-killer, is an aggressive and merciless thing. It doesn’t do nearly as well killing off texts, but we’re getting there. The text reads, “Mike, this is Susan, call me.” And I ignore Susan. She’s likely some Russian sex worker who had read my profile and sees that we live near one another and she would like to show me her breasts for four bucks a month. They found Greg’s body” is the next text and now I know who it is.

I remember the very moment Greg decided to ruin his life. We were both working at a restaurant named “Shoney’s”. I was a cook and Greg was a dishwasher. He was making about four bucks an hour and he came up to me and said, “I think I’ll become a cocaine dealer.” Now, this guy was going to college, had a great girlfriend, Susan, made decent grades, his family was helping support his education, and he wants to be a cocaine dealer. Greg couldn’t sell more cocaine than he snorted and you can guess how quickly things went from stupid to worse.

Greg started stealing. First, he stopped paying his rent and bill at the apartment he shared with two other guys, and he started borrowing money. Then things started disappearing. He sold me an aquarium, a fifty-gallon tank with all the accessories, for twenty-five bucks, and a couple of weeks later I discovered it belonged to one of his roommates. I offered to sell it back to him for the same price and he told me for twenty-five more he would forget the whole ordeal, which was decent of him.

They kicked Greg out and he moved in with Susan. He stole her bike and sold it to a pawn shop. Susan’s parents stepped in and offered Greg a place in their garage, and Susan’s mother got a call while she was at work. Greg was having a yard sale with her stuff in the driveway. He sold some small appliances, and some of the woman’s jewelry. They kicked him out and he lived for a couple of days in the front lawn of his ex-roommates’ apartment, sleeping in his bed next to the street. It was an odd and sad sight. But the first hard rain ended that and Greg took his bed frame to the pawn shop and sold it.

As far as I know, that was the beginning of Greg being totally homeless. That was the first time I remember someone telling me he was seen at Exit 16, holding up a sign, looking for beer money.

Greg’s family quit him after he asked for tuition money and used it to throw one hell of a party. Susan got a restraining order. Everyone learned to let Greg into your home or your car meant he was going to steal something, anything, he could. Once he stole a stack of sticky notes from me. Half a stack actually. I always wondered if he tried to pawn them.

A maintenance worker found his body near the interstate back in May. Because Greg had been homeless since the mid 1980s there really wasn’t a trail to follow, except when he had been arrested, spent time in jail, and picked up for being too drunk to stand up.

Eventually, they did find his family, and they found Susan. She had tried to help him as late as a few years ago. Her husband, Jim, who knew me, and hated me, from the last part of the 80’s, went with me to find Greg, and we were going to get him into rehab, but Greg has slipped away into the void of underpasses and culverts.

There isn’t a cause of death. Drug overdose, alcohol poisoning, kidney failure, liver failure, dehydration, starvation, heart failure, take your pick. The body had been wherever it was found long enough for it to have begun the process of returning to the earth. Greg was in his late fifties and the way he lived was harsh on the body. He had been living on the road for over thirty years.

I don’t have a moral for this story. I really don’t know what I’m trying to say. I’m sad, relieved, and more than numb. A lot of people tried to help Greg, and as hard as they tried Greg tried harder not to be helped. Maybe that’s it, Greg’s final message to the world, and this one is true: You just can’t help some people.

Whatever else happens, I hope they spread his ashes on I-75.
Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – The Dog Stars

Because I’ve been writing a story about a post-apocalyptic America, someone recommended “The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller. The first real post-civilization book that grabbed me was “Lucifer’s Hammer” by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Their book was based on the idea that a comet would hit Earth and predictably, things went poorly for human beings, and pretty much all other life forms. They also set the stage for the aftermath, with humans either coming together to help one another, or not help one another, and the role that technology would play. This was back in 1977, mind you, and a lot of things have changed since then. Or not.

Heller’s post human world is a fairly grim place with the last few survivors really not doing much more than that. Nine years after the fall, there’s not a lot of hope felt in the narrator, and it’s a grim read, so far. I’m nearly finished.

Spoiler Alert: The dog dies. Most people don’t want to read a story where the dog dies, and this one is a good dog, really.

There’s a scene in the book where the narrator, a man named Hig, gets into a shootout with bad guys, kills one of them, but allows the others to live. One of them is wearing a necklace made of body parts, so Hig decides to kill him, too. It’s a grim world, and his dog dies.

A lot of things will have to go right if things keep going wrong, in the real world, in our reality. In fiction, there’s always something that happens, some place safe, some group of people who get it right, so there’s hope.

Invariably, even in fiction, there’s conflict between groups of humans, and people die. The good guys win, plant food, harvest enough to keep things going, and life begins anew at the end. Or not, I haven’t finished Heller’s book yet. I’m busy writing about it.

“The Dog Stars” was written in 2012, the year people told us the Mayans thought the world would end. Clearly, their ability to interpret ancient hieroglyphs, was lacking. But the idea of the world ending, clearly, isn’t a new idea. The Mayan people disappeared long before the white people came along and wiped out indigenous people like a plague, and there’s been many a civilization to be uncovered that went long before over the horizon sailing was invented.

Two questions: (1) How do you envision the world ending now, during our lifetime? (2) What’s your favorite post-apocalyptic book, and why?

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Sinclair II Night of the Nudes

I remember thinking it was a sign from God. Like all signs from all Gods, it was looked for, and interpreted as such, because assurance and validation of actions is needed in all things human, except for cooking, and then you need garlic. But there was a liquor store next door to the motel where we were housed. All the boys were stacked four to a room, all the girls were in rooms on the other side of the hotel, as if the distance would deter. Sinclair went to visit her family, thinking cooler heads would prevail, and good judgment would reign.

I had vodka.

We pooled our money, with some chipped in, surprisingly, by a couple of the girls, including one of the “good” girls, Mary, who never did anything that suggested she knew what bad could be. I was sent into the liquor store to buy a fifth of vodka while the others scouted for orange juice. I looked fourteen, at best. I walked in, put the bottle on the counter, and the guy rang it up without batting an eye. It was a sign from God.

Suddenly there were four of us guys, and three girls, in one room. Mary was drinking for the first time in her life, Susan had drank before, and Janet was appalled by all of this. She napped on the bed while the rest of us drank, and got drunk. Cards came out, strip poker was proposed, and all the girls were firmly against it. Until Susan said, “How do we play?”

For this to work, for us to see female flesh never seen outside a bathroom or a locker room before, someone had to be bold. We played for a while, Susan’s bra came off, and there was a sense that something was going to happen. I slipped my jeans off, revealing the fact I did not have underwear on. Susan lost her shirt, and then Mary took hers off.

Two things happened at once. 

The first was that Donnie Dest, a loser with no skill at drinking or girls, had drank a beer. He then went and knocked on the door where Sandra Prince was waiting for Mary and Susan to return. Sandra’s father had told her to shoot and kill any man, or boy who tried to get into her room. Sandra had her father’s Colt .45. Model 1911. She pointed it at Donnie face when she opened to door. He peed on himself.

The second event was that Sandra called our room, and said that she had called Sinclair, and she was returning, posthaste. Clothes were put on, bottles where hidden, and the night came to an end before anyone, male or female, misplaced their virginity.

Back at school, there were rumors as to what had happened, or not, but no one there really was talking. Janet, who had slept through the whole thing had vague memories, but the other two women made it a point to swear us guys to secrecy, which made everyone else wonder what really happened.

At the end of the day, or night, the only thing that really came of all of this is one of the guys, David, started dating Susan. After all, they had seen each other half naked. Mary went on to avoid eye contact with any of us guys that were there. I gained a reputation as someone who could get alcohol for other people. And Sinclair, after the rumors that swirled around that field trip, left Early County after that school year.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Anne Sinclair

“One fine young Lady’s horse refused the fence to clear. . .” from the song, Hunting Girl, by Jethro Tull. Songs from the Wood, 1976.

At sixteen I could walk into any liquor store in Early County and buy as much of anything I wanted. Legally? No, but at the same time I was a very good and very dependable customer. One day I walked in and bought two pints of eighty proof vodka, and slipped one into each of my boots.

I wore cowboy boots, the slip on kind, for that reason. We were going on a three day high school field trip and that would cover one day’s worth of drinking for me. This was going to be interesting by anyone’s measure. This was a field trip, not only out of town, but in a hotel, with about thirty students, some of whom had never stepped foot out of Blakely. I was loaded for bear; I had vodka and pot.

Our teacher, Anne Sinclair, was from Montgomery Alabama, our destination, and she was going to give us a tour of the waste treatment plant her father had designed. Sinclair had taken a job teaching biology in Early County and thought of its population as dull witted hick folk, unworthy of her efforts, yet she would deign, she would stoop to reach out, and possibly but not likely, bring light into the darkness, and maybe salvage one or two who might be intelligent enough to understand her.
Her first serious mistake was when she was trying to describe evolution to teenagers who didn’t have the educational background to understand that evolution is a bundle of knowledge, not a single idea. My best friend, Curt, who was as laid back and anyone alive, and mellow to the point of distraction, told her that his mama has told him evolution wasn’t true. Sinclair said, and I remember it perfectly, “Anyone who believes that is stupid.” The room fell into a hush and Curt replied, “Bitch, if you ever call my mama stupid again I’ll slap you.”

Sinclair fled the room, and eventually, the principal came to fetch Curt, and class was cancelled. All in all, I agreed with what Sinclair had said, one hundred percent, but damn, chick, that delivery was more than a little off target. She made an enemy of Curt, and from that point forward, there would be no peace. I was the self appointed Angel of Revenge, and this time, unlike so many other of my missions, I had more than enough back up from students who knew Curt’s mom, and in her name we preyed.

The school bus we were in got pulled over after we had been on the interstate for a while. The bus driver wasn’t speeding much, and the bus was clearly from a school, so… what the hell? The trooper said that some students in the back were holding up a sign that read, “Honk if you got some last night!” That explained why so many cars were laying on their horns when they passed.

Anne Sinclair was NOT amused. The trooper, clearly, was having marital issues.

Meanwhile, at the threat of the trip being cancelled, Sinclair noticed that there was a group of students singing a very bawdy Jethro Tull song. There was no internet, no way she could have discovered just how kinky the song might have been, but the lyrics had been changed.

“One fine young lady’s horse refused the Anne Sinclair,” was what we were singing now, albeit it unintelligibly.

But the mood of the trip was set. Even the kids not interested in avenging the slight were into the fight, and singing the song.
This, I told Curt, would be a trip to remember.

End part one.

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Hitching a Ride

Back in August, of 1980, a friend of mine and I decided to hitchhike to Wisconsin, from Georgia, to go to a keg party. That sounds fairly insane now, and it was not quite insane then. My father had thumbed his way from Athens Georgia down to the bottom of the state when he was going to college, and back then, in the 1950s, it was not only a safe way to travel, it was reliable as well. Thirty years later it was getting iffy, and because of the Interstate, you could travel faster, because of more people, but there is nothing that is made better by more people.

This was my first trip as a hitchhiker, and when we caught a ride in Tennessee that took us all the way to Madison Wisconsin, nearly the whole of the trip except for two hundred and fifty or so in Georgia, I was sold as a true believer in never owning a car again as long as I lived. This was the only way to travel, and at nineteen, I thought I had it all figured out.

The problem was we picked up a couple of good rides, but then we got this one guy who started telling us about this woman he met at a bar. Remember, “at a bar”. It got a little creepy, and a little creepy is something that usually means more creepy is forthcoming. He started telling us what he and this woman did back at his place in more detail than I would have liked from a porn movie with subtitles for the hard of hearing or deaf.

I’ll spare you most of the particulars because I want you to come back next week, and I don’t want Jon to fire me.  [Editor’s note: ALOL]

Anyway, we’re closing in on our exit, and getting there fast, all is well, except for Porn Boy getting more and more explicit, and suddenly he tells us this woman was nine months pregnant. My friend and I exchange looks, and my friend says, “Hey, look, there’s our exit up ahead, we really appreciate the lift, man, but right here will be good.”

I can honestly say that watching that exit come up and having this guy drive past it was one of the weirdest sensations ever. At this point, we were in a car being driven by someone we didn’t know, being taken somewhere we did not want to go. “I’m not finished with my story,” the man said, and kept driving. Faster.

We had talked about carrying weapons and decided not to, but I did have a small knife. We had also discussed what we would do if this very situation came up, and it was here, now, right there in front of us, and the guy was not going to stop.

“Sir,” I said, “I cannot express to you in more certain terms that you have to stop this car right now.” I looked at my friend in the backseat and he nodded. I was going to take the wheel while he dragged the dude back if he could.

“Now,” I repeated and reached over and grabbed his arm. It felt surreal and scary, that I was about to have to fight for control of the car, and maybe my life.

He braked hard, pulled over, and started talking about going to the party with us, and we agreed that was a great idea. But as soon as the car stopped we ran like hell, crossed over the interstate, and then crossed back over when he took off. I remember running, and running, and hoping that guy didn’t shoot us.

“Come on,” my friend said, “off the road.” And we hid in the woods for about an hour or so but didn’t see him again.

We got back out and after three or four more rides made it to LaCrosse. The party was great, it was a lot of fun to be around people who loved my accent, and I eventually moved up there, with a car. But I never forgot how it felt to be inside a vehicle, with a stranger, who wasn’t stopping.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Potted

Incredibly enough, I think legal marijuana is something I’ll experience in my home state of Georgia in a few years. There are eleven states where pot is legal today, and every state that has a long growing season has got to be looking at the tax revenues of the legal weed states and thinking there’s a lot to gain here and not a lot to lose. Say what you want about pot smokers and pot, but weed is fairly safe and potheads are usually more hungry than angry. The idea that pot is a gateway drug was pretty much debunked long before Nixon used the “War on Drugs” as a war on minorities.

Here’s the thing, and there’s really is no getting around it: There are two very sure ways to make money off your citizens using drugs. The first is to make the drugs illegal, and then turn the prison industry private, and tax the prisons, as your citizens are jailed for what most Americans consider a very minor offense. The only problem here is that industries are taxed at a much lower rate than real people, and pay very little in taxes. Worse, the prison industry is supported by tax money because they are paid by the government to house inmates. The other way to make money off your citizens using drugs is to tax the drug. That’s created a billion dollars’ worth of new revenue in the legal pot states in one year.

Because I subject to random urinalysis tests, at least for another three months or so, I don’t smoke pot. After I retire, it’s likely that some legal weed state is going to find me sitting on a balcony smoking a joint while sharing my thoughts with the people reading this right now.

My first Friday Firesmith was back six or seven years ago, and the subject was the legalization of pot. I thought then, and I do now, that it’s inevitable. But one thing I think we have to do if we’re to make pot legal, is to overturn every pot-related drug conviction in the country and release anyone in prison and clear everyone’s records. It’s time to stop treating pot the same way we do truly dangerous drugs and it’s time to stop treating people who sell and smoke grass like criminals.

Isn’t it just a little strange that I can rent a room in Colorado, get high as a kite, write about it publicly, have people laugh at my inability to write while stoned, yet back home I can’t smoke pot because of a pee test?

Isn’t it odd that someone dying of cancer can get stoned but someone with PTSD can’t? Isn’t it just a little weird I can go out and buy enough alcohol to kill me outright but I can’t buy a joint legally?

The time has come and the time is now. End the war on minorities and end the funding of private prisons for profit, and end the idea of Reefer Madness.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.


Friday Firesmith – 90 Days

With three months left before retirement, some Great Truths are beginning to reveal themselves. These are personal Great Truths, some might be Universal as well, but the truth can be harsh, or not, but mostly it simply is what the truth always has been. Or not. Things change faster than we do most of our lives, and we tend to go with the flow of the currents that guide our lives. Some paddle harder than others, but at the end of all things, we’re all headed in the same direction.

The First Great Truth is that no one matters. Your career, your life, your accomplishments, your failures, your many hours lying awake at night worrying about first one thing and then the others in turn, for decades, perhaps, mean nothing. The people who employed you many years ago are gone, and new people are ushering in newer people every day of the week. Someone there longer than you left already, and in time, you’ll be gone too, and it will not make an ounce of difference to the desk you once called home. I’m sorry, but this is true.

The Second Great Truth is your life will not dramatically change by retirement or getting ready for retirement, unless you make this happen. If you simply walk out of the office one day, shake hands with people you’ve known since they had dark hair and you had some hair, when you wake up you will live in the same world.

The Last Great Truth, and there are many more I don’t know about yet, and many I will never know, is You Can’t Go Back, and you should never do so. Don’t be one of those people who “visit” your former place of employment because you haven’t planned your new life out yet. Don’t be a Ghost. Don’t haunt yourself or people you once knew. Invite them over for dinner if you miss those people, but don’t miss sitting in your office. It’s like someone missing their cell in prison.

Next Tuesday, I sign the paperwork, and then the countdown to October the First begins. The next ninety days I’ll tie up loose ends, make sure I don’t leave a mess, and basically shed my skin. I’ll take more Mondays and Fridays off. I’ll stay up later. I’ll sleep in. I’ll tell people that this isn’t my problem they’ll have to speak with someone else, because I simply cannot invest in the future here anymore.

For twenty-seven years, and six months, I’ve worked the same job, moving four times, buying two houses, and losing five dogs and a cat along the way. I got married and divorced. I started writing. I voted in every election. I watched a stranger die slow and realized that yes, infrequent as it might be, that too, was my job.

We’re likely to speak more of this as the time draws nearer, yes, and I hope there’s some insight I can provide in this process that might be useful. But here we go, the last week behind my desk before the paperwork is inked, and someone gives me a hard date as to when I can get up, and start all over again.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – In The Moment

When I was a kid we had a hell of a good time with practically nothing more than what we found lying on the ground, and, of course, bicycles. I remember when Mark Kelly and I climbed up in a tree in a cow pasture and were way up high, in the crook of a branch that was really scary. Suddenly, the cows in the pasture came wandering up to sit in the shade of the tree, and we felt both trapped by the massive animals, and oddly like predators, ready to pounce upon the unsuspecting prey below.

In the moments that followed, we both whispered about getting, possibly, trampled in a stampede, which didn’t happen nearly as often as television shows suggested, as often as, let’s say, amnesia and quicksand, and how we might get one of the cows home, were we able to kill it, with a limb sharpened into a spear. Having nothing but a small pocketknife between the two of us, spear making was going to take a while, but hey, we would work up an appetite, right?

As the weather is wont to do in the Summers of South Georgia, the wind began to blow, a gentle breeze, welcomed, then hard enough to make the tree sway; a thunderstorm was about to begin, and we had to get out of that tree. The rumble of thunder hinted that we might be part of a cookout, and on the menu as well, were we struck by lightning while still stuck in the tree.

Of course, we climbed down, spooked some of the cows, others ignored such small creatures as we, but we managed to get close enough to the fence to drop over to the other side, just as the bottom fell out of the skies, and the deluge began. Sheets of rain pounded us, blinded us, as we ran towards my house, which was closer, and we finally gained the sanctuary of the carport. Soaking wet and breathless, we watched as the storm spent its fury and eventually, perhaps a half hour later, the sun came back out as if nothing had happened at all.

We didn’t need or want dry clothes, didn’t care that we were soaked, and no one did back then. We were barefooted and nearly feral. We wandered off to watch the water run out of the field and into the pond, or somewhere else. There was a sense of constant motion back then.

There is no record of any of these events. Not a video, not a photo of any sort, no mention of anything on social media at all. We weren’t tied down to chargers, had no fear of getting anything wet, and never paused to record a moment or take a photo. We were simply alive, and in this, had no need or means to save the moment in which we experienced life.

Do you think the ability, and the desire, to record memories, keeps you from making the most of the actual experience?

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Please Control Your Crotch Goblins

Sunday, I went to the grocery store. I go in the middle of the afternoon, and it’s literally triple-digit heat out there. This is a good thing; most people will not brave that sort of heat for food. I park well away from the front door, near the cart corral, and in I go. The place is deserted. Almost.

The store recently became possessed entirely of the Satan so they moved everything around. Aisle shuffling, I’m told, increases sales, but it also increases the likelihood of someone pouring olive oil on themselves and setting themselves ablaze. Clean up on aisle four, I mean five, damn, where is the guy on fire?

So I’m staring at the shelves, trying to find olives stuffed with garlic, because it is of the Gods, and there’s a woman pushing a cart. She has two kids in tow, and a Crotch Goblin in front of the cart, pushing back against her. This is the most apt description of children I could possibly imagine. There that woman is, doing her best to buy food for this kid, and there he is, working against her as hard as he can, for no good reason at all. Back in the day, Mom would have beaten me bloody for such behavior, and the people in the store would have had no problems finding what aisle to clean up.

And it would be Summer. I’m just passing through the junk food aisle, because potato chips and I broke up recently, and I don’t want to be on friendly terms with them anymore. Potato chips are proof no matter how much you love someone, they can be really bad for you. But there, ahead, is an entire pack of Crotch Goblins. There’s five, no, six of them, and they’ve fashioned the Goblin Gang, that formation of children that renders any aisle of any store impassible. Yet they are there with two adults. Why didn’t one of the adults keep the Goblins outside, in a car with the windows rolled up, and the AC off, and not create this mess?And it would be Summer. One of the female Goblins, clearly pre-teen, is wearing a thong bathing suit bottom. Her butt cheeks are clearly showing. This is a child, in every sense of the word, and you took her out in public like this?

I don’t bother. I just back up and go around the whole hot mess, wondering if I’m going to run into that kid with a kid in a couple of years. If the Prosti-tot was raised to be a Crotch Goblin, what on earth will her daughter become?

Back into the heat, and into the parking lot, I feel the oven-like intensity of the asphalt. I’ve been working outside in the Summer heat for twenty-six years, and this year is the first time I haven’t had to get out into the open often or for long. I retire this year. I wonder if being inside more has made me more aware of how kids act, or if it’s just part of getting older and have less patience with younger people?
Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.